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Created with Fabric.js 1.4.5 The Irish Immigrants of Montague Township Figure 2. Source: Johnson, J. K., and Bruce G. Wilson"Historical Essays on Upper Canada: New Perspectives" The 1820s and up to the 1880s saw the greatest movement of Irish immigrants to Upper Canada, making it the largest emigration to Ontario in the nineteenth century. The majority of these immigrants arrived in Upper Canadapre or post famine and despite their financial state of distress, their cultural state remained strong and alive. These immigrants were largely Protestant, as Figure 1 shows as many as 72% of the Irish immigration population arriving ineastern Ontario in 1821-1830 were Protestant, relative to the 12% that were Catholic. Irish Immigrants: Figure 1. Source: Johnson, J. K., and Bruce G. Wilson"Historical Essays on Upper Canada: New Perspectives" Montague Township in Lanark County is located in eastern Ontario (Figure 2) in what was known as Upper Canada during the nineteenth century. Throughout the late eighteenth century, geographical surveyorreports reveal, the general stoniness, thin soil and ever-present swamp[s]” that characterized the soil quality of Montagues 112 square miles. Despite the poor quality of soil in Montague, land grants by theCrown to Loyalists and their children continued to be granted from 1801 through to 1810. By 1830 close to 90% of land in Montague had been granted or reserved to the Crown and Clergy, although many of these owners were considered absentee landowners. In the 1830s only 13% of the land in Montague remained available for purchase during what was the largest immigration movement to the area. The majorityof immigrants that arrived in Montague Township were of Irish descent following the 1820s and although much of the land had already been granted to Loyalist and military settlers, Irish immigrants chose to squat land or rent it from the government or absentee landowners for twenty years or longer, before receiving legal ownership of property in Upper Canada. This resilience in spite of the limited land availableand the difficulty to cultivate such poor soil they could own is what characterized the Irish of the time, who were known to be more persistent compared to their non-Irish neighbors. Their resilience began topay off in the 1850s as quality of life slowly began to rise in Montague County. Illiteracy started to decline as school attendance began to rise; home quality rose throughout the County and the cash crop economy improved as cultivated farmland grew. Did You Know? The Education Act was implement in 1871 into Montague, bringing the attendance rate of children ages seven to twelve to 95% Montague Township of Lanark County:
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